Parenting is challenging work, especially for the parents of small children - or of teen-agers. It's easy in the midst of managing meals, car pools, and messes, to feel as if you are spending yourself down to nothing.
Parents can use encouragement and nurturing, even as they encourage and nurture our grandchildren.
Sometimes as grandparents we are so enchanted with our grandchildren, we neglect our own children.
When we phone, we ask about the grandkids first; then we want to talk with them. We might not take much time to visit with our own son or daughter in our rush to communicate with our grandchildren.
When is the last time you sent your son or daughter a personal note?
Adult children benefit from our interest and attention. Letters, notes, and postcards are one way of expressing that interest.
When you write, don't ask about your grandchildren first - ask how your son or daughter is doing. What child wants to feel their only value to their parents is as a grandchild's parent?
Write about things of interest to both of you. Include news of what you are doing, and ask about what your child is doing aside from her parenting responsibilities.
Enclose a photograph of something you've done lately, or write a note on the back of a program you've enjoyed recently. Share a recipe, a pattern, a funny story, or a book title you think your child will appreciate.
Most of all, express your love, appreciation, affirmation - leave out the criticism and the complaints. Share a good memory or tell a story of something from your own past.
Unlike a phone call, a note or a letter is something your child can hang on to, re-read and look at again. It can be an ever-present reminder of your love, support, and encouragement.
It can be a gift of the heart.